FIREMAN: I PULLED KNIFE ON FOTOG IN DEAD PAL'S GEAR

By LAURA ITALIANO


May 2, 2002 --

In riveting court testimony yesterday, a New York City firefighter described pulling his rescue knife on a free-lance photographer caught sneaking around Ground Zero in allegedly stolen gear.
It was 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, just three hours after the towers had collapsed.

Stephen Ferry, 41, who says he's a former White House correspondent, was discovered wearing a red Rescue Co. 3 hard hat, a FDNY-issued jumpsuit and work boots described in a criminal complaint as those of a firefighter dead in the collapse.

The man with the knife, firefighter Doug Hantusch, was from Rescue Co. 3 as well.

At a pretrial hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court yesterday, Hantusch described how, as he happened on Ferry, he was desperate to find any of the eight missing members of his company.

"Stan!" Hantusch testified to shouting, mistaking the alleged intruder for a colleague. Ferry kept going, Hantusch remembered, so he gave chase to question the familiarly dressed stranger.

"I said,